Half Art, Half Amazing: The story behind the art of two Pinoy artists in Vince Carter tribute
Jayson Atienza (R) and AJ Dimarucot
Instagram/AJ Dimarucot website

Half Art, Half Amazing: The story behind the art of two Pinoy artists in Vince Carter tribute

Alder Almo (Philstar.com) - July 11, 2020 - 2:49pm

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey – Vince Carter will always be remembered for his iconic dunks en route to winning the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk contest. That signature moment launched Carter’s NBA career and at the same time put Toronto on the basketball map long before the Raptors would win their first championship last year.

Air Canada became as cool as Air Jordan in the ice hockey-dominated country. "Vinsanity" became a global phenomenon.

One of those millions of fans worldwide who were captivated by Carter’s gravity-defying acts is Filipino visual artist Jayson Atienza. So when Carter retired last month and the NBA Canada came up with a digital campaign to honor him, Atienza didn’t pass up on the opportunity to be a part of it.

“I’ve been playing basketball since I was young and idolizing all the greats growing up especially Vince Carter. So, when the opportunity came up to work on this amazing tribute project, I jumped on it immediately. He put his heart into the game in his 22 seasons, and it has been great to commemorate that through my art,” Atienza told Philstar.com

Atienza along with AJ Dimarucot were the only Filipinos selected to join 13 more artists across the globe to create digital posters depicting Carter’s illustrious 22-year NBA career as part of the #ThankYouVince, an international campaign rooted in storytelling and technology, celebrating Carter’s historic career.  

Dimarucot, a self-taught graphic designer, art director and illustrator, was also thrilled to be part of the project. 

“I’ve been a longtime fan of the NBA so it was always a dream of mine to collaborate with them,” Dimarucot told Philstar.com in a separate interview. 

The two Filipino artists had contrasting but equally interesting journeys in the world of art. 

From visual language to visual art

Atienza took about two weeks from conceptualization to execution to complete the meticulous art work featuring an image of Carter wearing his headband. 

“I created the Vince Carter portrait using a palette inspired by his first team, the Toronto Raptors. VC’s most prolific number 15 is hidden within the background, and you’ll find his signature dunk position hidden at the upper left. This portrait features VC’s intensity through the eyes, and bold colors throughout, in honor of his on-court prowess,” Atienza explained. 

Atienza, who splits his time between Asia and US, was born in Batangas but was raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. His signature style, which combines bright colors and bold line detail, and spreads organically across all mediums, was cultivated at the School of Visual Arts in New York. 

“I had a professor who saw me experimenting with what became my signature style, and encouraged me to keep it up. I did, and today I feel so lucky that I can communicate this way with strangers around the world through my art,” said Atienza who attended an undergraduate program, double-majoring in graphic design and advertising, at SVA. 

While his creativity was developed in the school, his inclination to arts was greatly influenced by his father at an early age. 

“I started drawing when I was five years old, first collaborating with my father, who was deaf and mute. Visual language became the most important way I communicated from an early age,” he recalled. 

His passion became his profession bringing him to different places painting giant murals, customizing sneakers, cars for international brands that includes Nike, Jordan Brand, GAP, Ray-Ban, Havaianas, ESPN and MINI.

Establishing his footing in China, where he is based for the past six years, the former Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai creative director got a glowing recommendation from NBA China, which helped him seal the #ThankYouVinceproject.

“I’ve previously had the opportunity to collaborate on projects with NBA China in Shanghai, so I had an established relationship and I am super grateful that they recommended me,” he said. 

Championing Filipino designers

While Atienza had his exploits outside the Philippines, Dimarucot made waves locally.

A former Art Director in Ogilvy Philippines, he was largely responsible for starting their award-winning digital department where he has designed and collaborated with brands like Nike, Jordan Brand, Adidas, Marvel, Coca-Cola, Star Wars and a number of smaller independent brands.  

Being a self-taught graphic designer, he sought for avenues to meet and help fellow local designers.

He collaborated with industry pioneers and founded the Communication Design Association of the Philippines, which aims to raise the value of Filipino design and create a platform to elevate the Filipino designers in the global stage. 

He also created a Facebook community called Filipinomads Creative Network with the goal of helping online Filipino creatives earn international clients without leaving the Philippines. 

His impressive resume led him to his first direct collaboration with the NBA. 

“I’ve worked with the local NBA people before and they gave my name to the regional NBA group,” Dimarucot said. 

“It’s my first time to directly work with the NBA. I did a project before for NBA China but through an advertising agency and I was more of a producer.” 

For his tribute artwork, Dimarucot encapsulated Carter’s legacy through his signature move. 

“I wanted to highlight his tomahawk dunk without using the more common images that have already been done by some artists before,” Dimarucot said. “I also wanted to create a simple logo like mark of the V and the maple leaf to tie back his legacy to where it all started. I also added some type elements of his nicknames from Half-man Half-amazing to other highlights of his storied career.”


Dimarucot’s design has been well received by Carter’s fans on social media. 




For more Vince Carter tributes, visit NBA.com/Vince, which houses a visual timeline of Carter’s career, a "Fan Vote" of his memorable moments, and custom print shop where Atienza and Dimarucot’s artworks can be downloaded. 

There will also be an augmented reality filter that will be available on Instagram and Snapchat, bringing “Air Canada” to life in the form of his iconic through-the-legs dunk from the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.

The highlight of the #ThankYouVince campaign will be the July 15 special from Sportsnet, a 15-minute video tribute showcasing some of the NBA’s biggest personalities including Dominique Wilkins, Stephen Curry and RJ Barrett, as they offer their appreciation for the memories and contributions Vince has provided the game of basketball, while celebrating his historic and highlight-filled career.

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